Local News

Multi-layer security protects babies at UNC Rex as authorities warn of potential abductor

Posted April 24, 2018 10:25 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center has issued a bulletin to area hospitals after a woman attempted to abduct a baby from a Wilmington hospital earlier this month.

The maternity ward is one of the happiest places in the hospital, where moms and dads celebrate the arrival of their baby, but while families swoon, staff is always on alert for the health and safety of newborns.

Authorities said Linda Everett, 36, was charged with breaking and entering at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center and she might be trying to abduct a baby from hospitals in the Carolinas. The news has many wondering how easy it would be for a stranger to gain access to a baby at Triangle hospitals.

“It’s probably not impossible, but it would be very difficult,” Susan O’Dell, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at UNC Rex Health Care, where security is multilayered.

O’Dell said that visitors are required to check in and must be able to provide employees with the name of the patient they plan to visit. The patient’s name is then verified and a visitor’s tag is administered.

There are also areas of restricted access within the hospital.

As for the babies, UNC Rex has a two-tag system. One tag has a name and number that matches a similar tag on the mother’s wrist while the other is an alarm.

“It is an electronic tag with a censor in it that would alarm if it were tampered with or if it got too near a perimeter border,” O’Dell said.

If an alarm sounds, the unit goes on lockdown, but O’Dell said employees are on the frontline when it comes to infant security.

“I think our greatest strength is in the vigilance of the nurses and techs and the people who work here. We don’t want them to let their guard down,” she said.